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Comment Re:doesn't "accelerate" (Score 1) 117

My initial reaction was that AC couldn't be right; a satellite and a ray of light starting out in the same direction would diverge in space, and they couldn't both be straight lines. But that was my misunderstanding. They would not both follow straight lines in *space*, but they would in *space-time*. There's a useful explanation here: http://curious.astro.cornell.e...

Comment Color me skeptical (Score 1) 40

The photographs of the colored khipus show individual strings as being differently colored, rather than individual knots, or bands on the strings. If the strings were read one at a time (as opposed to trying to line up knots across different strings), this would imply the colors could only be distinctive at the higher (perhaps sentence) level, which means that they could not be used to form logograms. Or maybe the colors could stand for some "thing", so a red strand might be for potatoes, a blue strand for cuy, a green strand for..., and the knots would represent numbers of those items. But that wouldn't constitute a logosyllabic system.

Comment Re:Linux is sadly becoming irrelevant. (Score 1) 109

Someone else (me) said that if Windows were an Indiana Jones movie, then Win7 and XP would star Harrison Ford, while Win10 would star Lego blocks. I do find it terminally ugly, not to mention the fact that it goes out of its way to prevent you from telling by looking which window has keyboard focus.

Comment Re:Linux is sadly becoming irrelevant. (Score 1) 109

I run a Windows desktop at home, and Windows at work. (For various reasons, one of which is I have a self-written keyboard remapper that would be hard to port to Linux because of the way it hooks into the OS. At least I've never figured out how to do it.)

But I do all my software development on Linux. It's just easier than on Windows. And from what I've heard, I'm the kind of person bash-in-Windows is intended for. I've already gotten rid of CygWin on my home Windows machine in favor of this new bash-in-Windows. If I had bash and other Linux utilities on my work computer, I could dispense with most of the need for logging into a separate Linux computer from Windows, using sftp (which btw broke the other day for Java-based programs, after we did a Java update; unclear as yet why).

So at this point Linux is definitely not irrelevant to me. When this Linux-in-Windows becomes available on my work computer, I may no longer need a separate Linux computer for most of what I do. (It would still be useful for heavy duty compiles, large data processing, etc.)

I will also say that I find Windows 10 terminally ugly, as compared with Win7 and XP. I'm guessing I would find some Linux desktop easier on the eyes, but I haven't experimented enough with that, and I suppose that's not a major consideration.

Comment Re:Its pretty important... (Score 2) 307

According to NOAA (, sea level rise at Grand Isle LA averaged slightly over 9 mm/ year since 1947, and 9.65 mm/ year at Eugene Island LA. And 4.71 mm/ year at New Canal LA. (Those are the 3 locations on that graphic.) According to the wikipedia (attributed to an IPCC report), average global sea level rise in the 20th century is in the neighborhood of 1.8 mm/ year. Those are different time frames, but afaik the 20th century rise was more or less linear, so the IPCC numbers should hold for the NOAA time frame. That means that the global sea level rise for two of the three LA stations accounts for only about 20% of the rise; less than 40% for the third station.

So no, you cannot attribute most of the rising sea level in Louisiana to climate change. Instead, most of the problem there is subsidence. And as for whether "Literally everyone who studies this stuff for a living agrees with this", wrong. As stated in the IPCC report ( "Coastal subsidence in river delta regions can be an important contributing factor to sea level change, with a typical magnitude of 10 mm/yr, although the phenomenon will usually be of a local character. Regions of documented subsidence include the Mediterranean deltas (Stanley, 1997), the Mississippi delta (Day et al., 1993)..." The sea level rise in LA is real; the attribution of that rise to climate change is only 20% true.

As for the Solomon Islands, the rise there is also well above global average, something like 7mm/ year. That suggests that factors other than global sea level rise, brought on by climate change, are to blame, as the author of the study (Dr. Simon Albert) that reported on the loss of those islands himself stated.

And finally, as for Florida, last I looked we haven't lost it. (Well, the Democrats lost it last November, but you know what I mean.) The entire state is on top of a fresh water aquifer, and withdrawals from that aquifer have increased in recent decades. But I don't know whether the removal of fresh water would cause subsidence, or just replacement of fresh water by salt water.

Comment Re:What?! NO! (Score 1) 180

I've owned Android phones and still own an Android tablet. I never found the phones intuitive, and the tablet is so unintuitive that each time I haul it out (mostly for long airplane flights), I've forgotten how to use it. And as for the apps it supports, it was a huge disappointment; doing email on it, for example, is sheer torture.

My Windows (8) phone, OTOH, is the easiest to use phone I've ever had, and email on it is trivially easy. (I don't own a Windows tablet)

Comment Re:I don't see why (Score 1) 180

I'd very much like to be the 7th. I have a Windows 8 phone (not enough memory for Win10). I've owned an Android, and I much prefer the Windows OS on the phone (and I get along just fine without all those Android-only apps, thank you). I would really like to have a Win10 phone. There are used ones for sale, but I'm hesitant to buy sight unseen.

Comment Re: I get no updates from my carrier (Score 1) 103

The phone companies obviously have no reason to do this, since if you're truly concerned about having a newer version, your only recourse is to buy a new phone. And Company X may hope that you buy it from Company X again.

In the PC world, it's Microsoft who releases the updates, and those updates by and large work on everyone's PC regardless of who made its components. (Yes, there are occasional driver issues, although in my decades of owning a PC, I personally don't think I've ever had a Microsoft update brick my PC because of driver issues.) So it seems to me that in the Android world, it ought to be Google who issues the updates. That may not be possible now, since from what I've heard individual phone companies have modified the software, but it could be done in the future by forbidding the phone companies from modifying the core Android o/s (if indeed that's what's happened).

BTW, my phone runs Windows.

Comment it's just a definition (Score 1) 150

I'm a linguist, and I don't understand this controversy. Why should anyone care how the IAU defines 'planet'? They can't keep you from using the word any way you want, and their definition obviously makes no difference whatsoever to Pluto itself, nor does it have any legal standing (you won't lose your health care depending on which way they define it). So what's the big deal?

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